Baltimore Con Highlights: News and Updates from Dynamite Entertainment

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND  - - - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015: While the program title was a little misleading - - “DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT: THE NEXT TEN YEARS” - - the content was lively and the hour of news and comments passed quickly.  Writer Ron Marz and artist Franco Francavilla answered various questions from audience members while Dynamite Marketing staffer Keith Davidsen acted as panel moderator.

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 Marz is the writer of the popular Prophecy cross-over series from Dynamite and is the current scripter on John Carter, Warlord of Mars.  Francavilla has illustrated numerous covers for Dynamite books.

     Marz spoke of his long-lived passion for Edgar Rice Burrough’s creation John Carter, which he discovered at “the magic age of 11-12, the age when what you read sticks with you for the rest of your life.”  He wanted to write new stories of John Carter ever since then.  Dynamite formerly published their version of Burrough’s creations under the names Warlord of Mars (John Carter) and Lord of the Jungle (Tarzan).  Since then, the Burroughs estate has reviewed the Dynamite books and are satisfied that they are true to form.  An agreement was then reached with Dynamite Entertainment.  Marz’s book is now authorized to use the full name, hence the beginning of John Carter, Warlord of Mars with Marz (very appropriate name) as writer.  

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     The initial story arc has just completed, and the first trade paperback edition is set for an October 7 release date.  Mark explained that he wanted the book to be popular with all audiences, so he wrote it from a point of view that would be both welcoming to regular readers of John Carter and serve as a “ground-floor read” for those less familiar with the legendary character.  In his opinion, the original John Carter books are pivotal works.  “Star Wars, Avatar, and Superman all trace their roots back to John Carter in a very obvious way, he said.

     When asked what excited him the most about the project, he jokingly replied: “the semi-naked princess!”  Mark pointed out that DejaThoris, Martian member of the royal family and wife to John Carter, was never meant to be a weak character.  Despite being gorgeously depicted in the book, Marz stated “I’m still out to make sure Deja Thoris could kick your ass!"

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Artist Franco Francavilla was asked to name his favorite projects among the numerous covers he has drawn.  He quickly answered The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows books for Dynamite.  He confided that he was not aware of the late ‘60s / early ‘70s Dark Shadows television show, and was assigned the covers work long before the recent movie featuring actor Johnny Depp was released.  For research purposes, he went to You Tube to discover the original episodes. 

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     Some time was devoted to speaking about cross-over stories.  Ron Marz wrote the first cross-over series for Dynamite, The Prophecy, and Franco Francavilla illustrated the covers.  One of the most popular cross-over events done at Dynamite was the banding together of all the pulp heroes in Masks, which also resulted in a later Masks 2 series. 

     The comment was made that it seemed like 60% of all books in today’s marketplace are tied in to cross-over events.  Ron Marz quickly replied that “you buy all those cross-overs, and that sends a message to the publishers - - do more cross-overs!"

     Keith Davidsen recalled for the group all the Dynamite cross-overs of 2015 - - - Red Sonya & Conan, Vampirella vs. Aliens, Django/Zorro, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Swords of Sorrow, etc.

     What Dynamite is especially proud of is a new title, the first comic to feature James Bond in over 20 years which is scripted by fan favorite Warren Ellis and is set to be released in November, two days before the premiere of the SPECTRE movie.  Davidson explained how “all the icons of pop culture have comics featuring them, but not James Bond” until now.  Comics and related media have been tied up in complicated licensing issues forbears, and Dynamite was fortunate to obtain the rights. 

     Among other news and updates shared with the Baltimore Comic Con audience were . . . . .

*** Bob’s Burgers is very popular, and shaping up to be the best selling book in Dynamite’s roster.

*** The popular Swords of Sorrow cross-over/team-up event will spin off into Sonya & Vampirella in January 2016, based on concepts by writer Gail Simone.

*** Devilution by Rick Remender will feature cavemen in a post-apocalyptic survival tale.

*** Seduction of the Innocent in December will re-create the feel and mood of the popular 1950’s EC crime comics.

*** Battlestar Galactica is on an unintentional hiatus after having three separate titles run back to back.  A new series is in the works, a “very high concept” tale scheduled for mid-2016 release.

*** The King Syndicate titles (Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, etc) featured in separate min-series in 2015 will combine in 2016 for a loose cross-over that attempts to tie them together, with Flash Gordon as the centerpiece/flagship. 

*** A similar strategy is in the works for the Gold Key properties, linking Solar, Man of the Atom; Turok, Dinosaur Hunter; Magnus, Robot Fighter; and Doctor Spector together in a major cross-over. 

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